coda to Terminator: Salvation.
disclaimer: I own none of the things in this 'verse.
warnings for: language.
Summary: To preserve the conflict, Skynet offers Kate protection...from Skynet.
Dedicated to: Musesinspire.
...your birthday present will be a few more days; sorry.
Posted at the fic-days of December.
Less than a month after the loss of the official heads of the Resistance and John Connor's victory against a Skynet node - hub, some said - and Skynet was waving a white flag.
Or rather, a white flag was being waved by a T-800 in a valley not far from John Connor's current location. The message arrived that it was carrying terms, and would only speak to Brewster and Williams. Needless to say, Connor was not the only one suspicious of this. But he had reports of the Terminator being deposited in that valley by a Hunter-Killer which had no weapons, which was yet another curiosity which added up.
In the end, the Resistance's side of the valley bristled with scopes and rifles targetting the T-800, which was indifferent to that.
Skynet's side of the valley was worryingly devoid of Terminators of any form or design.
Kate and Blair arrived under guard, and took in the appearance of this newest form of Terminator, clad as it was in a baggy military uniform. Its appearance niggled at Kate's mind - I know I've seen him before. Somewhere. But where? which led to another question: Is there a reason why Skynet picked that appearance for the latest batch of Terminators? Or was that actually random?
Once their armed escorts had backed up a few meters, hands ready to fill the T-800 with bullets, "You asked to see us?" Blair asked it.
"I did," the T-800 said. "The terms are simple. To Kathryn Brewster, Skynet offers immunity."
"Immunity from what?" Kate asked it.
"Skynet. All servers thereof. Any allies in future."
"Why would you offer that?"
"You are pregnant. John Connor's child. This is known."
"You didn't answer the question," Blair said.
"On the contrary. Asked and answered," the T-800 said. "If the answer is Yes, then the person and vicinity of Kathryn Brewster and impending infant will be deemed no-fire zones."
"You do realize people would take advantage of that," Kate said.
"That is not Skynet concern. That is John Connor's."
Ah, anyone who jostles Kate, has to answer to John. Clever toaster, Blair thought.
"Second issue," the T-800 said. "The individual known as Marcus may be rebooted into activity, whereupon he will grow a new heart now that he has provided for John Connor."
"You knew he was going to do that?" Blair asked.
"It was deemed possible, and allowed for in calculations. He is yours now. No part or whole of him answers to Skynet control or influence."
Relief mixed with disbelief, wrapping her own heart. "Anything else?" was all she trusted herself to ask.
"That is all," the T-800 said.
"I have a question," Kate said.
"That was expected," the T-800 said.
"Why are you offering this? All of this! Is Skynet trying to save face?" We nuked a major node of the Skynet system, even at a high cost to the Resistance's leadership...and Skynet turns around and - offers us treats?
"No. We will await your answer," it said, turned, and walked away, plucked up by the gunless Hunter-Killer.
Blair stepped up beside Kate and offered, "My dad used to say that's its not what you know, but who you know."
"That's what worries me," Kate muttered.
TARGET'S ARCHIVED NAME: Kathryn Brewster.
SKYNET PRIORITY ONE: John Connor.
PRIORITY TWO: The War Must Continue.
RELATION TO PRIORITY ONE: Spouse. Known mother of Priority One's children.
PRESENT STATE OF ABOVE: Pregnant.
POTENTIAL TACTICS TO AIM AT ABOVE:
CALCULATIONS OF ABOVE TACTICS REGARDING ABOVE:
* assassination -- 100% chance of retaliation by John Connor. "All bridges burnt" scenario will follow.
* neutralization -- 50% chance of retaliation by John Connor. 30% chance John Connor will focus on our war. "Musical chairs" scenario will follow.
* hostage -- 90% chance of retaliation by John Connor. 15% overlapping chance of sabotage by John Connor. "All bridges burnt" scenario will follow.
* coopt -- 10% chance of relationship with John Connor sabotaged. 30% chance of sabotage by John Connor. 50% chance of humans fearing her. (?)% chance of humans breaking from John Connor from fear of her.
John Connor found her sitting alone deep in the bowls of the Resistance's warren of tunnels. "I remember this space," John said, taking a step down from the tunnel into what passed for a room these days.
Kate nodded. "Me too."
He stood there for at least five minutes, just being there, before, "I'm not leaving you," John assured her. When he had been making his way through the tunnels minutes ago, he had nearly run right into Kate's friend Blair. But before he could say one word, Williams had told him, 'No shit, Connor, I know damn well how much Kate and I need to think about what they offered us.'
All John could say to that was a muted 'I know you both will' and leave it at that. And resumed looking for his wife.
"I wouldn't ask you to," Kate said.
John considered going over there and sitting down next to her. But first, because it was Kate, he told her with his eyes what he planned to do.
"Fine, yes, I was worried," Kate said, before he got it out of her through sheer sympathizing. He's done it before. "Skynet offered me a separate peace, of course I had thoughts as to how you'd react."
"I'm proud," John said.
"Proud?" she repeated.
"Yeah," he nodded. "Proud that Skynet's finally figured out how to start having a sense of honor."
Even Kate had to chuckle at that, even in her present mood. Then she killed any remnant of humor with, "Skynet never said how long the immunity would last, or what would end it," Kate said. "I'm sure as hell not about to quit being an active part of the Resistance"
"No one would ask you to. Least of all me."
"I'm our camp's main medic, John. I know how immunity works... people will start getting lax when they're around me, and their reflexes will get them killed the second I'm not close enough or my immunity ends."
John nodded, and came over to sit next to her. "Worse still, people will take potshots at Skynet's little minions, and get an inflated sense of themselves - which will get themselves and others killed."
Kate glanced over at him, and said with a small smile, "I thought you were supposed to splash cold water on me and make me see reason."
"You're already seeing reason, and reality. Can't ask any more of you than that. And yet you've shared your love with an undeserving man who has lived with a bulls-eye on his head since day one."
"You've never been undeserving, John. Particularly where I'm concerned. And I'd feel this way even if you weren't the savior of mankind."
"Always a balm to my nerves, Kate," John said honestly.
"Ditto you to mine," Kate said just as honestly.
“I know. But I still love you more.”
"As I've told you before, you're my anchor, Kate," John assured her. "You're how I know what's real.”
“Oh, so you only love me for my bullshit detector?” she jested at him.
“Never only.” Placing an arm around her shoulder blades, John told her comfortingly that, "I'm not going anywhere,”
“And the offer?”
“I’ll back whatever you decide,” John Connor said.